The essays on the following pages were written in support of The First
Look Show. We are proud that this diverse group of hostaphiles were willing to
contribute to this event.
The essays are as diverse as the people themselves. We have a wonderful
backwards glance from Bob Olson at the history of The Hosta Journal.
Ernie Flippo has given us a personal view of the “first time” for a
number of hosta gardeners. In the best tradition of
“agent provocateur” George Schmid has written an iconoclastic essay
on gardens and “collections” which should challenge us all.
Hybridizers Mary Chastain and Ran Lydell have each contributed essays.
Ran deals with the goals of his hybridization efforts and expresses some common
sense about hosta “futures”. Mary, profiles different types of hosta
“addicts” , offers some practical tips about hybridizing, and is
clearly still dreaming of new hostas and endless possibilities.
Cornelia Holland confesses the steps of her addiction to hostas in a
personal odyssey described in a set of delightful verbal snapshots of Who’s
Who in the world of hostas. Bill Burto traces the history of the New England
Hosta Society and gives special mention of Carl Calderara and Mildred Seaver,
and the bonds that form with friends in the garden.
Steve Chamberlain, in the best tradition of observation and insight, has
written a tribute to the hostas of Frances Williams, as well as giving us a hint
of her biography. And happily, Sally Murphy has traveled down the biography path
too and given us an account of Mary and Roy Chastain and their lives amidst the
Finally, who else but Mildred Seaver should have the last word on gardens
in this set of essays.